This will be the first official prayer letter of the New Year, although I have kept in touch through shorter updates since the first of January. As always, thank you for your love and support!
CHRISTMAS 2020 AND NEW YEAR’S RECAP
We stayed busy from December 23 until the evening of January 1 with five different preaching services. Cambodians, Filipinos, and Pakistanis were able to hear a challenge from the Word of God. It was a special encouragement to see one of our Khmai (Cambodian) adult members provide gifts and organize a game for the rest of us, all without any prompting on our part.
During this time, we drove six hours to a province to see a former church family. They organized a Christmas-themed evangelistic gathering by themselves without any help from us. About 30 people came from the surrounding area, many of whom said this was their first time to go to a Christian meeting. Hands were raised at the invitation time, for which we praise God, and we commend the preparation of this family.
Viva, a young lady who attends our church, was saved on December 31. The next Sunday she was baptized, along with two other members, a mother and her daughter. This mother had been hesitating to get baptized for a long time but finally agreed to obey the Lord.
2021 STORY OF REDEMPTION
For several years, a wonderful Filipino couple has been helping in our church. They are from General Santos City and were already well trained before they joined us. For the space of three years, they prayed, wept for, and discipled another Filipino family, finally drawing them into our church. The man was already saved but backslidden, and his wife was unsaved. They recently returned to the Philippines, now as a saved and serving couple. Truly, the half has not been told here. I am so thankful for the biblical example shown by the discipling couple, a godly husband and wife.
Since the beginning of 2020, our adult attendance has been building. For our November 2020 anniversary service, we did not push for a special attendance due to COVID concerns. Nevertheless, there were 20 adults that evening, plus children. But I could also call this a “Men’s Ministry,” because men have been my focus since last year as well. In addition to the two Filipino husbands, we have:
• Two Pakistani men, Michael and Peter, count Straight Road Baptist as their church.
• Brian is an American man previously saved in Mexico; due to bad health, I teach him at home.
• Sebastian is unsaved and from Germany; I meet him periodically to chat and share the Gospel with him.
• A Pakistani Christian family with adult children attend another church, but they invite me periodically to come and share the Word of God in their house.
TEEN MEMBER’S MOTHER GETS SAVED!
Moni has been coming to church for a good number of years. He is not the most consistent teen member, but he has taken a stand and is willing to be known as a Christian to his family and friends. One of the Filipino men joined me for soul winning one afternoon. We talked to Moni’s mother. Her husband strongly told me that I should not bother convincing him to convert, so I was concerned that Moni’s mother would do the same. I even reminded her that her husband was not willing to give up his Buddhism and asked, “What about you?” She affirmed that she was ready to call on the Lord, and she did that day! Besides her, there have been eight others who have asked Jesus to forgive their sins.
Our family has not been to the USA since 2014 (I have come back twice by myself, each time for less than a month). At this time, there is a small possibility of our coming back in October of this year for a few months. If not, we will plan for the summer of 2022.
Walter, Suni, Joseph, and Jerusha Poole